July 17th People

July 17th

07-17-1898 – 12-09-1991 Berenice Abbott – Born in Springfield, Ohio. She was an American photographer best known for her black and white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s. In the 1920s, she lived in Paris where she photographed many figures Bernice Abbottfrom the worlds of literature and the arts, including James Joyce, Fujita, Coco Chanel, and Max Ernst. She also made a significant contribution to LGBT history by photographing lesbians and bisexuals writers such as Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, Sylvia Beach, Bryher, and Janet Flanner. She returned to New York in 1929. In 1935, Abbott moved into Greenwich Village with art critic Elizabeth McCausland. The couple lived together for 30 years until McCausland’s death in 1965. In 1941 she published a Guide to Better Photography. The film Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, which showed 200 of her black and white photographs, suggests she was a feminist. Before the film was completed she questioned, “The world doesn’t like independent women, why, I don’t know, but I don’t care.”

07-17-1883 – 11-18-1928 Mauritz Stiller – Born in Helsinki, Mauritz StillerFinland. He was a Finnish-Swedish film director, best known for discovering Greta Garbo and bringing her to America. His family was of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, having lived in Russia and Poland before settling in Finland. When he was four, his mother committed suicide and he was raised by family friends. Drafted into the army by Czar Nicholas II, Stiller fled the country and settled in Sweden. He became a Swedish citizen in 1921. Stiller never married and those around him knew he was gay.

07-17-1908 – 10-20-2004 Nerina Shute – Born in Prudhoe, Northumberland, United Kingdom. she was an English writer and journalist, described by the Sunday Times as “the amazingly colourful and bisexual film critic.” She had a mystery female lover, Josephine, and several flirtations with men during the 1930s. While visiting her mother in Rottingdean, Sussex, she met and had an affair with Helen Mayo, one of the first female dental surgeons. Shute married broadcaster, Howard Marshall. The marriage ended after she confessed to him, in 1953, that she was having an affair with their French maid. For twenty-two years she had an affair with celebrated ballroom dancer, Phyllis Taylor, until Taylor’s death in 1981. In 1989, Shute was introduced to artist Jocelyn Williams who became her lover and cared for Shute until her death in 2004. With the publication of Passionate Friendships in 1992, she was able to be open about her own bisexuality. “For many years I have managed to keep my secrets to myself,” she wrote, “protecting the men and women I have loved. Now all my loved ones are dead and no longer vulnerable.”

07-17-1909 – 03-05-2003 Sir Hardy Amies – Born in London, England. He was an English fashion designer, founder of the Hardy Amies label and best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, from her accession to the throne in 1952 until his retirement in 1989. In 1967, he designed the costumes for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. After his retirement, Amies became more candid about being gay. When speaking of Sir Norman Hartnell, another renowned dressmaker to the Queen, he commented: “It’s quite simple. He was a silly old queen and I’m a clever old queen.” Amies and his partner, Ken Fleetwood, Design Director of Hardy Amies Ltd., were together for forty-three years until Fleetwood’s death in 1996. Amies died at home in 2003 at the age of ninety-three.

07-17-1938 Troy Walker – Born in Chicago, Illinois. He is a singer and nightclub performer. In 1958, Walker moved to Los Angeles. He was, as he said, “a very pretty boy”. He learned to use that to his advantage on stage. His first line was, “My name’s Troy Walker and whatever you’re thinking, you’re right”. In an interview, Walker said, “Mommy wanted a girl, Daddy wanted a boy, now they’re both happy.” He never hid the fact that he was gay and was flamboyant on stage. In the 1970s he had a regular gig at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood, which was a redneck country bar. He also performed in Las Vegas with Timi Yuro as a duet, both had been signed to Liberty Records. Walker made two live albums, one in 1962 and the other two years later.

07-17-1979 Vicky Beeching – Born in the United Kingdom, place unknown. She is a British musician and religious commentator. She is Vicky Beechingbest known for work in America. Beeching is considered the most influential Christian of her generation. In 2014, she came out as a lesbian. As of 2015, she is a regular television and radio commentator. Her Twitter following is over 60,000 as of 2016.

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